Sonali shares a yummy and delicate Bengali dessert, chhanar payesh that suits the Autumnal (Sharadiya) festivities, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
It is that time of the year again for which the Bengalis all over the world eagerly wait for the whole year! The countdown to Durga Puja has started. Bengalis love adda and food and they look forward to both during these five days of the festival.
Foodies like us, have already started the menu planning. Though biryani, pulao, and mutton will rule the menu, sweets like Rasagolla and Sandesh will not be far behind. Bengalis love their sweets after all!
This time I will be making this Chhanar Payesh or cottage cheese pudding to start off my Puja menu. This is a delicate Bengali dessert made with fresh homemade chenna or paneer. The milk is thickened and the freshly made cheese is added to it. This pudding tastes great as it is mildly sweet with a hint of cardamom and taste of soft moist chhena in every bite! The chopped nuts add a slight crunch. Yum! Try this Chhanar Payesh and enjoy with your friends and family this festive season.
Subho Sharadiya to all who are celebrating!
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Other Time: 60 mins
1 cup freshly made homemade chhana/chhena (see tips)
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup grated mawa/khoya (milk solids)
2-3 pods of green cardamoms
½ cup sugar or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped nuts (almonds and pistachios)
Bring the milk to a boil stirring in between. When the milk starts to boil, reduce the flame and let it reduce to half of its quantity. Stir in between so that the milk does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the green cardamoms to flavor the milk.
Meanwhile, mash the freshly made chhena with the help of the heel of your palm until smooth. Set aside.
When the milk has reduced to half of its quantity, add the sugar. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved completely. Add the grated khoya and mix well. Gradually add the mashed chenna and stir. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes at low heat. The consistency will be thick but not dry. Remember that when it is cooled it will thicken further.
Add the chopped nuts and reserve some for garnish.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with remaining nuts. Serve chilled. Enjoy!
To make the chhena, heat the milk at medium-high, stirring occasionally. Once the milk starts to boil, lower the flame and gradually add vinegar. Stir gently. The milk starts to curdle and separates from the cheese. Strain the liquid through a strainer lined with a cheesecloth. Bring all the sides of the cheesecloth together and tie a knot. Hang for at least 30 minutes.
Photos by the author
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Sonali Chakraborty is a food blogger, self-taught food photographer and stylist. She is a true Bong at heart. She loves to travel and listens to music.